The following is a brief overview and guide to the various academic software tools that we use in the Middle School. This grid mostly highlights tools that are accessible via the Internet. At the bottom of the grid are a couple of "emerging" software programs that some faculty members have been experimenting with over the past year or so.


Software Program
Accessible from Home?
What is it and what is it used for?
Advantages
Faculty Websites/Arachne
No
Creating/updating teacher website
Very customizable--you have full control over how you want your page to look. Samples: Taft, Montagne, Reimer
FA Web
Yes
Web based grading program-typically used as an electronic grading program. It is used by all faculty for writing comments and submitting grades. It is also used for attendance
Access and work on your grades/comments from any web enabled computer. Comment proofing is fairly simple with this program as well.
NetWildcat
Yes
This is the program that USM uses to distribute report cards, comments and interims to families electronically.
Paperless distribution of report cards!!
USM Portal
Yes
Teachers may use the portal for the following: nightly homework assignments, posting announcements and photos to their various groups, etc.
One location for parents, students and teachers to look up nightly homework assignments. It also has a nice electronic directory for looking up contact info for school community members.
Rubicon Atlas
Yes
Used for curriculum mapping
Web based, all maps in one central location, easy to use, data can be searched and used to guide future curriculum decisions/planning.
Emerging Software:



Wikis
Yes
A wiki is basically a web page with an edit button...they are really easy to create and maintain. Wikis may contain video, photos, and other like media files.
Very, very simple to use wikis. The fact that they are accessible from any web based computing is a big plus. All students in the 8th grade will have wiki accounts this year; last year we had teachers using wikis for student projects with 8th graders and 5th graders. Wikis are an excellent tool for a wide range of student projects. Wiki Samples: Karen's Garden, American History Rules
Blogs
Yes
Online web journal...the blogger submits posts which are organized in chronological order. The Middle School uses a "Team" blog for tracking professional development experiences.
Very simple and easy to setup and maintain. Allows for a certain degree of interactivity through the use of comments. Blog Samples: MS Professional Growth Blog, MS Educational Technology Blog, Blogging Around the World w/Mr. Piper
Podcasts/Video Casts/ YouTube/ Teacher Tube
Yes
These are tools for distributing audio, video and photos. Great way to distribute student media projects
Student YouTube project from last year